Unheralded

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Pan-Fried Walleye

There’s something special about summer other than the warmer temperatures, especially when you live in the northern climes where winter can get awfully cold and snowy, even a bit too long. What makes summer extra special for me is that my cuisine mainly is centered on the vegetables from my garden and fresh fish. Although not the angler that I …


Unheralded

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Friends For Life

When I was in junior high, I became friends with a group of girls that we referred to as “the gang,” in an era when that word had a different meaning in rural Minnesota. In our graduating class of over 300, we  were among the “good” girls.  Our idea of a “pot party” was washing the cookware after a camping …


CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Sour Cream Cucumbers

One of my favorite side dishes from my childhood was cucumbers and onions in a cream sauce. We used to have them at holidays, for sure. Aunt Harriet always had them whenever we would go over for ham dinner on New Year’s Day. And Mom often made them in the summer when the cucumbers started producing. I had the first …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Bad Theology

Bad theology is scary and hurtful. We live in a world where evil happens and there are consequences for sin. However, we do not have a God who “miraculously” saves one person and instead sacrifices another. Our God is a God on the cross who is present when a classroom of children are slaughtered and when assassins aim at the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — YAY! I Live In A National Historic District!

Sometime later this month, the State Historical Society of North Dakota is going to officially announce the approval of a new historic neighborhood in Bismarck. I’m pretty excited about it because I live in it. Two years ago last week, the Highland Acres neighborhood in west Bismarck was named to the National Register of Historic Places, with its official new …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Bridge That Should’ve Come Down

This is a story of a tragic, ironic, almost unbelievable twist of fate. Some of you remember I wrote a series of stories, beginning in July 2017, about an illegal bridge across the Little Missouri State Scenic River west of the Killdeer Mountains, built by a fellow named Wylie Bice, a wealthy rancher with his pockets full of oil boom …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — A Prayer For The Future

“A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” This quote from the Declaration of Independence is on my heart 248 years after it was penned. My prayer for my nation is that a year from now we have a president who is not …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Salmon Sliders With Garlic Lemon Aioli

There are many schools of thought on what ingredients make up aioli sauce. Many recipes include egg yolks and lemon juice, and one ingredient that almost all recipes feature is garlic, a favorite of mine. A quick version of aioli that I like contains garlic, lemon juice, mayonnaise and some fresh dill. Aioli perfectly complements grilled salmon. And a good …

JIM THIELMAN: Willie And Ted As Teammates Would Have Been Delicious

As the 1950s neared, a Southern-born baseball scout reported from Birmingham that Willie Mays was not “a Red Sox type” of player. To the Irish management in Boston, it meant Mays was not white. If any team had the best chance of signing black players in Birmingham after World War II, it was the Red Sox. The white Birmingham Barons …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Too Many Funerals; Sorry, Max

I should have been in Wahpeton Tuesday. I should have been at the funeral of my best childhood friend, Max Reinke. But I just couldn’t take another funeral right now.  I’ve been to too many lately. But luckily, my friend Kevin Carvell says, none of them were mine. I know, it’s just a function of my age (soon to be …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Screw Politics; Let’s Talk About Bacon

Well, I could write about the election just past, or I could write about bacon. I like politics — most of my readers know that. But ALL of my friends know of my bacon fixation. I’ve liked bacon all my life, but never so much as when we moved into this house 15 years ago with its big garden space …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — A Tale Of Two Convictions

I was reflecting on the convictions of Donald Trump and Hunter Biden. A lot could be said about the fact that false equivalencies being made between the felony conviction of a former president and the son of a president or the circumstances of the convictions. But what strikes me the most is not the convictions of two men found guilty …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — No One Is Above The Law

Let’s start with a basic fact. Democracy cannot exist without the rule of law. The concept that no one is above the law. And America cannot exist without democracy. Our founders bristled at the arbitrary dictates of a king an ocean away. Americans fought and died in World War II to ensure democracy and its hallmark, free elections, the peaceful …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Election Thoughts

I’m stuck at home for a few days nursing some bruised-up ribs and a cut-up hand after a tumble in the Bad Lands, but I can type, so I’ll a share a few political thoughts with you in the days leading up to the June 11 North Dakota primary election. Congress First, you need to watch this short two-minute powerful video produced …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Truth Leads To Reconciliation

This is the final blog in a series of posts regarding my personal experience of the abuse of power that can result from one person having hierarchical control of the career of a rostered minister. In previous blogs, I shared my experience with a clinical pastoral experience supervisor that forced me to process my rape soon after it happened and …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Violations Of Trust

This is the third blog in a series highlighting my experiences with unchecked hierarchical power over my 34 years of ordained ministry. My hope in sharing my experience is to create a safe space for others to share their stories. In my first post, I shared how I was raped near the end of my CPE semester and forced by my …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Wars, Remembered On Memorial Day

IN FLANDERS FIELDS By John McCrae In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — A Broken Trust

This is the second in a series of three blogs highlighting Paula Mehmel’s experience of clergy abuse by hierarchical structures. Although I had served my congregation faithfully for 20 years, as one of my very wise council members told me, “If you piss off 3 percent of the people a year, you are doing well. But if you stay for …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Unchecked Power Can Be Silencing

This is the first in a series of four blogs highlighting Paula Mehmel’s experience of clergy abuse by hierarchical structures. In recent years, there have been a lot of blogs and articles about why so many pastors and other rostered leaders are leaving the ministry. As an ordained ELCA pastor for 34 years and the current pastor of a UCC …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Shotguns, Dead Dogs, Liars And Courtrooms

This article first appeared in the May issue of High Plains Reader. I am an old man. I have been a politics junkie most of my life. I have been involved in many campaigns, but have not run for office myself. Each time someone has suggested I do that, I tell them the same thing: I will not put my …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — You Can’t Have It Both Ways

I’ve seen a lot on social media about the Neanderthal views of the Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker. I believe in his right to have and express his opinion, although I truly feel sorry for the Benedictine nuns who support the institution at which he made his remarks. Butker’s comments indicate the nuns’ choice to follow service to Lord …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Much Ado About Nothing

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” — Ecclesiastes 1:9 Hmmm. Nothing new under the sun. Perhaps North Dakota Gov. Douglas Burgum needs to spend a little time with his Bible. Wise man, that Solomon. I’m referring to Burgum’s much ballyhooed announcement of the creation of …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Re-reading Willa Cather

“… the certainty of countless miles of empty country and open sky and wind and night on every side of me. It’s the happiest feeling I ever have. And when I am most enjoying the loveliest things the world is full of, it’s then I am most homesick for just that emptiness and that untainted air.” — Willa Cather

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Headed For Mar-A-Lago?

In an attempt to share with you what’s going on in my phone’s text messages, without offending your sensibilities, I’m going to keep this short. As I mentioned in an earlier column, I continue to get text messages from the Trump campaign after North Dakota’s failed presidential candidate, Doug Burgum, shared my personal contact information with the Trump campaign. I’m …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Fried Cabbage With Onions and Sweet Peppers

Sausage can be paired with many other foods. Here’s one of my favorite skillet recipes that combines cabbage, onions and sweet bell peppers with some wonderful country style sausage from Stan’s Supermarket in Wishek, N.D. My friend, Delore Zimmerman, who hails from Wishek, kindly picks up for me some of the country style sausage and ring bologna whenever he goes …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Just How Rich Is Billings County?

I’ve been moping around the house most of this cold, wet, windy, dreary, week, feeling sorry for myself because I can’t get out in the garden. I managed one garden day early in the week and planted about half of what I hope will be this year’s potato crop, but I’ve got a big bag of seed potatoes in the …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco Day 9

Our last day in Morocco began very early, before sunrise. We got up and walked out into the sand dunes and watched the magic as the sun peaked over the sand. I think the part that is the most indescribable is the different shades of color of sand. And how intensely and incredibly beautifully it reflects as the the rays …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco Day 8

As an avid traveler, I’m not sure I have a “bucket list” per se because travel for me is about life not death. But I definitely have a list of travel dreams. To accomplish one in a few years is incredible. But to accomplish two in less than four months seems unfathomable. However, a mere months after reaching my seventh …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco Day 7

And now for something completely different. I am not a birdwatcher. I feed the birds on my deck and I recognize a few of them, like the cardinal and the finch. But mostly if I see a bird that’s pretty, I point at  it and say, “Oh. There’s a pretty bird.”  But it has to be fairly obvious because my …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Does The Governor’s Office Have A “Slush Fund?” Well, Not Really …

When residents of Billings County in western North Dakota, home to the Bad Lands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora, head to their mailboxes sometime this week or next, they’re going to find a letter from their county commissioners. That’s unusual. About the only time county government sends you a letter is with your property tax bill. But this …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco Day 6

A few people have asked about how I put this trip together and how it was organized, and I thought that this would be a good post to explain that as the past day has been about travel coordination. When Gretchen and I decided to go, we talked about the places we wanted to visit, knowing we would want to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — And Then The Conventions Were Over …

Humorist Will Rogers once said, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” North Dakota Republicans left Fargo mumbling something like that Sunday morning, changing the last word, after the fiasco that was their purported state convention. Democrats, meanwhile, trickled out of town knowing they had at least three credible candidates at the top …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco Day 5

Today was a deep dive into Morocco, its history and culture, as we took a walking tour of the old city portion of Fes. Today Fes has a modern city and the medieval Medina, which together have 1.5 million people. Fes was founded in 789 by Iraqis who sought to bring Islam to Morocco. Prior to that time, the country …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — White Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup

It would be hard for me to point out one vegetable as my favorite. Of course, the tomato rates right up, even though technically it’s a fruit. And I can’t forget cabbage, which is great just about anyway it’s prepared.  Then there are onions. Who can cook without them? But there is one vegetable that’s climbing the ladder quickly, and …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco Day 4

The key to successful travel experiences, in my opinion, is pace. You can’t go, go, go all the time and really appreciate all that a country has to offer. At least I can’t. So some days you need to deliberately slow down to experience a country and not just see it. That’s what today was all about. We had a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Convention Notes … So Far

Saturday morning. The first Saturday of April. Time for Spring. I’ve played a lot of golf on the first Saturday of April over the years.  Not last year, of course, when there was 2 feet of snow on the ground outside my bedroom window. But this year, the grass is getting a green tint out there, and I’d at least …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco Day 3, Evening Iftar

Serendipity: “The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Serendipity — what we experienced this evening in Tangier. Last night, during dinner, we had the most delightful waiter, Reda, a high school senior. During the course of our conversation over the meal, he extended an invitation to us to join him and some of …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco Day 3

Normally when I get up in the morning, I do not plan my wardrobe to coordinate with the city to which I am traveling. However, this wasn’t a normal day and Chefchauoen is not a normal city. We set out with our driver from the previous day and drove two hours up to the mountains to this famous blue city. …

JIM THIELMAN: Women’s basketball — An Overnight Sensation, Decades In The Making

A few days back, a Washington Post story on my laptop told of young fans roaming the mean streets of Albany, N.Y., after the NCAA women’s basketball semifinals. The Post quoted a smug fan lamenting to her pals that “everyone’s jumping on our … bandwagon.” A thought balloon popped over my head that Alexander the Great started out in Macedonia …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco, Day 2

I often tell people that I have adopted Rick Steves approach to travel, which focuses on being a backdoor traveler. Today I took that to a whole new level. We spent the first part of the day touring Morocco with a driver arranged through our lodging.  Our driver, Mohammed, spoken no English. However, we were able to communicate through Martha’s …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Morocco, Day 1

What started with a loose screw ended with a magical encounter with a painting that has long been one of my favorite works of art. So goes the serendipity of travel as I embark on another segment of “Travels with Paula—Moroccan (and unexpectedly Madrid) edition.” (Time to silence my posts if you don’t like my travelogues.) After getting up at …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Taking God Hostage

Most people, in my opinion, misunderstand the commandment “Don’t take God’s name in vain.” It is often associated with using course and vulgar language, which while at times can be both crude and degrading, has absolutely NOTHING to do with what I believe this commandment is about. This commandment is about using God’s name to claim power for yourself. Claiming, …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — It Takes A Village

I’ve been thinking lately about the importance of interdependence and relying on others to help you. We are so often tied into the myth that we need to be self-reliant, which totally misses the greatest joy of life — giving and receiving help because we don’t need to be able to do everything for ohurselves. On Thursday, I did a …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University of North Dakota Vs. Miami University

The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team advanced to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff next weekend at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with a 7-1 win over Miami University in clinching the best-of-three quarterfinal series. The Fighting Hawks (26-10-2) defeated the RedHawks ( 7-26-3) 5-1 on Friday night. UND gained the conference semifinals for fourth …